Sunday, November 6, 2011

Venturing Out to Little Shell Island

This morning we decided to give Sidney another try since the southwest winds were light and the sun was warming the morning. Heading to the Ardwell Drive launch site we drove along the water front on Lochside Drive and sure enough there was a slight ripple present. This was going to be a great day!!!

After getting our rides ready, I checked my watch and noted the 10:30 departure time as we paddled out of Roberts Bay and headed south to the Sidney Harbour. We paddled around Roberts Point and an armada of sailboats were hoisting their sails off the Sidney Pier ready to race but the winds weren't in favor of them today. However.... it was a great day for a paddle!

Warm sun, calm seas, slight breeze and a beautiful fall day!

We continued south past the pier and I had a little chat with the people looking down at us before continuing towards the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. The ferry hadn't arrived yet so we turned around and headed back towards the Little Group of  islands where we made a quick assessment of the conditions and pleasure craft traffic present. The tide was running with us so we picked a spot on the nearest island which happened to be Little Shell Island and started out into open water for the first time. The crossing was about 1 nautical mile and as we paddled through a tide line a big salmon (10 -15lbs) swam right up to the cockpit of Robyn's kayak before splashing back under the surface..... what an amazing thing to experience!

It didn't take long to make the crossing and we slowly navigated around Little Shell Island and found a beautiful little cove on the north side out of the current influence. Paddling in the clear turquoise water with a beach that was covered with broken white shells reminded us of the Caribbean except there were no palm trees and it wasn't 29 degrees. A great place to stop and have our lunch.

All along I had been keeping an eye on the conditions and there wasn't the slightest hint that winds were about to change so after checking our maps we decided to press on towards Coal Island. As we arrived at Killer Whale Point (there were no killer whales here LOL) we saw about 25 seals sunning themselves on the small reefs just before the point. Giving them a wide berth we paddled slowly by and I heard splashing behind me and was amazed to see about 10 seals playing in my wake. They seemed to be very curious of us and were doing dolphin leaps and chasing each other. 

The seal reefs...... and they wanted to play with us!

We then entered John Passage on the west side of Coal Island and saw a family of sea otters playing in the kelp beds close to the shoreline. When they finally saw us they headed to the safety of their den of logs in a crevice. They are very cute little critters and remind me much of cats but they live in the water. As I glided by I managed to capture their "who's that?" look on a couple of them.

The day just couldn't be any better and we could have stayed out here longer but with the time change and the sun starting to settle down low in the south east and it was time to make our way back to the launch point. We crossed by Fernie Island over to Curtesis Point and Robyn pointed out the house she did bookkeeping work in up to last week. I think she is going to miss the kayakers passing by at the new location in Central Saanich :-)

A quick transit into Tsehum Harbour to check out the incoming pleasure craft ( boy some of them are big and expensive) and around Armstrong Point back to the beach where we started from 4 hours earlier. Along the way we stopped to talk to a local resident who was prepping his crab traps on his small poly kayak in hopes of a crab dinner tomorrow night. Honey......we need a crab trap for these outings!!!

Edited 11/7/11 - I added our route that we followed heading south out of Roberts Bay


  1. Nice post! And great pictures!
    Ardwell Road is a terrific place to put in, and there's lots of great spots to paddle to from there. A short hop from there and you're into the Gulf Islands.

  2. Hi John, ya think we are addicted?? LOL

    Glad you enjoy our adventure ramblings.